VIDEO: Game of contrasting halves for PNE boss

Share this article

Preston North End manager Alex Neil was happier with his side's first-half performance than the second in their victory over Stockport County.

Goals from Callum Robinson and Tom Barkhuizen before the interval helped PNE to a 2-1 win over their National League North opponents at Edgeley Park.

Stockport v PNE

Stockport v PNE

County had taken the lead through a Jason Oswell strike but Robinson soon levelled before Barkhuizen netted the second.

MATCH REPORT: Stockport County 1-2 PNE

AS IT HAPPENED: Alex Neil's first game in charge

Neil fielded a different outfield side in each half, goalkeeper Chris Maxwell the only North End player to complete the full 90 minutes.

The Preston boss was on the touchline for the first time since his appointment, having watched the previous pre-season friendly at Bamber Bridge from the stand.

Neil said: "I thought we started a bit edgy, I thought you could tell it was a new way of playing for them to an an extent.

"But as the first half wore on, I thought they got better and better.

"We scored two really good goals and could have scored four or five to be honest with the great first-half chances we had.

"I think the lads are getting an understanding of what I would like them to do - it was a good starting point."

The second half didn't have much flow to it, North End only really moving the ball well in the latter stages.

Their best chances came as the clocked tick down, Melle Meulensteen, Alan Browne and Daryl Horgan having opportunities.

Said Neil: "The second half was a bit different because Stockport changed to a 3-5-2 to clog-up to clog up the middle of the pitch to stop us playing.

"We hadn't worked on playing against a 3-5-2 up to this point, we'd only had a week together working on the shape we wanted to play.

"The game in the second half was a bit messy, a bit scrappy.

"We moved the ball pretty well at times but we can certainly improve on it."

North End are back in action on Tuesday night when they play Morecambe at the Globe Arena, with them then heading to the Crown Ground to face Accrington Stanley the following evening.

MATCH REPORT: Stockport County 1-2 PNE

AS IT HAPPENED: Alex Neil's first game in charge